What Are Dual Intent Visas?

When a foreign national seeks entry into the United States and applies for a U.S. visa, they need to indicate how long they plan to remain. For those whose ultimate goal is getting a U.S. green card then they have what is referred to as “immigrant intent”, while those who only intend to stay for a short time – such as those coming to the United States for a temporary job and then planning on returning to their home country – are referred to as having “nonimmigrant intent.”  The immigration service pays close attention to these indications of intent, and when an applicant says that they plan on returning home they are required to provide solid evidence supporting that assertion. This can take several forms, including showing that they have family or a home that they left behind, or that their work contract in the United States is only temporary. However, there are some visa categories that permit a person who does not currently express immigrant intent to shift their position and status in the future. Visas that allow this switch are referred to as “Dual Intent Visas.”

Dual intent visas are, therefore, exactly what their name indicates – they are for people who have not yet made up their minds, or perhaps are weighing two different options are admitting that they are not entirely sure of what they plan for the future. They may try to qualify for lawful permanent residence in the future, even though their current situation does not make that clear.

Immigrants starting out with a dual intent visa can have an easier time of switching their status then holders of visas that indicate nonimmigrant intent, so if you are planning on applying for a visa with those types of hopes for the future, you may want to apply for one of those visas that allow dual intent. These include:

H-1B temporary workers in a specialty occupation

H-4 dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old) of H-1B workers

L-1A intracompany transferees executive or manager

L-1B intracompany transferees specialized knowledge

L-2 dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old) of L-1A or L-1B workers

O-1 aliens with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics

O-3 dependents (spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old) of O-1 visa holders

K-1 fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens

K-2 dependents (unmarried children under 21 years old) of K-1 visa holders

K-3 foreign spouses of U.S. Citizen

K-4 dependents (unmarried children under 21 years old) of K-3 visa holders

V dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old) of U.S. lawful permanent residents

If you hold one of these dual intent visas and are interested in adjusting your status, we can provide you with the legal guidance you need. Contact us today to learn more.